Districts to share $9 million for federal project

  • <br>Enterprise staff
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:27am

OLYMPIA — Everett and 11 other school districts across the state are slated to receive a total of $9 million in federal funding over the next six years to help more than 1,000 students from low-income families prepare for college, state education officials announced March 10.

The funding has been earmarked for the state’s GEAR UP Scholars Project, which will target students in the seventh grade and follow them through high- school graduation, according to a press release. The program will provide long-term, year-round, comprehensive college preparation. The grant will help low-income students improve their academic performance in school and also learn about financial aid and scholarships.

Besides Everett, the other districts in the program are: Monroe, Wenatchee, Okanogan, Vancouver, Wapato, Eastmont, Quincy, Inchelium, West Valley (Spokane), Federal Way and Bellingham. Partners from colleges and universities, community-based organizations and public schools will collaborate on the projects. The federal funding is expected to continue through 2011.

Participating students will receive extensive tutoring and mentoring from college students, adult volunteers and their peers. Another key to the project will be efforts to involve parents in workshops and activities.

Students will be expected to meet certain “benchmarks” and those who go on to graduate from high school and enroll in Washington colleges and universities will be eligible to receive scholarships in the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition program. The program is expected to help more than 1,000 students in their middle- and high-school years.

“It has the potential to help hundreds of students graduate from high school and go on to college,” said James Sulton Jr., executive director of the state Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The Everett School District will receive $112,500 to serve an estimated 75 students. The Monroe School District is slated to get $75,000 for approximately 50 students. Other grants range from $300,000 to the Vancouver School District to $15,000 to the Inchelium district.

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